When a business website is running slow, customers often decide to leave and look elsewhere. In addition, you lose search engine priority if your website has long load times. Why lose customers over something that is easily remedied? Business owners in need of speed for their website can find content delivery networks (CDNs) that will have pages loading fast.
Content delivery networks work by providing nodes that are close to your customers with the stored, fixed content loaded into them. When your website information is offered through a nearby node, it causes that data to travel over shorter distances, creating quicker loads. If you work in WordPress or other shared environments, there are plugins to combine with a CDN to meet your needs, as well.
Note: Remember, the data storage and bandwidth rates mentioned in here are for your website content only – not what’s on your computer hard drive. So you would have to have an extremely large website to exceed most of these. Of course, each of these will have a next level tier to accommodate your needs.
MaxCDN is a content delivery network that has hundreds of servers. The $39.95/year plan should suit most small businesses for those with less than 1TB of data per year.
CloudFlare CDN will keep a copy of minimum content, so your website is available even when the server is down. It also claims to work with other CDNs to increase speed. Although it does not charge for bandwidth and its limited basic service is free, its paid plans run from $20 to $3,000 per month.
CacheFly is used by some of the bigger name companies and is known for its reliability. They offer custom plans (with rates as low as $0.03 per GB) but their Plus Plan is $99 per month (256GB with $0.37/GB above that and limited services). There is a 30-day free trial.
CloudLayer has tools that help with content monetization and digital rights management. Its pricing is solely based on bandwidth, SSL (Secure Socket Layer), and storage needs. These prices range from $0.12 to $0.75 per GB on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Flexihostings is an Australian company that focuses on large content files, audio and video streaming and content caching. But they appear to service companies anywhere with 21 nodes around the world. All prices in Australian Dollars (AU$) Setup fee is $60 and a $200 security deposit. Then, plans start at 250 GB for $76.95/month.
Value CDN provides “fast and low cost” CDN service, and the website definitely looks the part. The site explains the basics and that’s it. However prices range from $120 to $700 per month, with low per GB pricing, but nodes are only located in Europe and North America.
ProCDN says that it works with both large and small content websites. The basic plan is $20 per month for 200 GB. After that it charges $0.15 for each GB up to 10 TB and then $0.10 per GB over 10 TB. I like that they have a short list right on the home page that shows where the servers/nodes are located.
For extra speed with WordPress on a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) level, try these plug-ins:
W3 Total Cache has to be one of the grandfathers in the content speed world. It comes recommended by many of the top bloggers out there.
WP Minify will speed up WordPress and other shared environment sites by compressing JS and CSS files. It can be used in conjunction with a CPN. It is free.
W3Edge is a top-rated plugin that caches, compresses, and is compatible with shared hosting. You can download it from their website for free.
Plugin Organizer is a WordPress plugin that helps you put your plugins in order and disable ones that you do not need on certain posts. It is free from WordPress.
If you have been searching for a way to host a fast WordPress site without having to do these speed things yourself, then I would recommend you try what is known as Managed WordPress Hosting.
The following three companies are ones where I have spoken to the founder(s) and can vouch for their relentless focus on the customer. There are many others in this growing category, however.
Page.ly was one of the first to offer managed hosting focused on WordPress users. The basic plan starts at $24/month and is ideal for the small business site or blog. Your site is constantly backed up as well, so that’s a nice “peace of mind” feature. I like this short page that explains managed hosting.
Synthesis comes from Copyblogger Media, owner of Scribe Content Marketing software which I just reviewed. It comes with that same – “educational content” that you have come to expect from any Copyblogger product. Plans start at $27/month.
WPEngine is well known for its lightning fast WordPress hosting. Plans start at $29/month and all plans come with a 60 Day money back guarantee. The two founders, Jason Cohen and Ben Metcalfe, are heavy hitters that you can bank on.
What tools are you using to keep your site fast — for your customers and for Google?
Great post, TJ. Having some kind of caching plugin on your blog site will drastically increase your load time. But it’s important to make sure that all the plugins you install are compatible with one another. Thanks for sharing.
You are very right, Ti. It is a big issue to make sure things stay compatible to one another. And you usually don’t know until you install and it breaks!!
WP Minify sounds very cool (because I’m running all my sites on WP). Any idea what kind of speed boost you could get from this?
I actually do not know, Robert. It is a great question. I’ll look around for some speed testers that might specifically look at the before/after speeds.
Speed is always good. It’s worth checking that the CDN you want to use has a node close to the people you want to serve.
A CDN may also help if you’re on shared hosting, which might be occasionally running slow. Having a good test plan before you start will help identify any problems early.
There is also the free CDN jsdelivr.com
Thru does content delivery by syncing data centers across the globe for low latency uploads and downloads of corporate data.
Find them here.